Leonard Cohen: Bird on a Wire
Palmer's film is that rare concert doc that isn't for established fans only.
Here is a story about a man who possesses enormous power, has it taken away from him, and finds when it is returned that it no longer means very much to him. "Eminent Domain" takes place in a somewhat fictionalized Poland in the pre-glasnost era. The state is run by a strongman whose control over the Communist Party and its Politburo is complete. That means that even the most powerful party officials - like Josef Burski, the sixth-ranking party official - owe their position and influence entirely to him.
Burski is played by Donald Sutherland as a crafty man, very intelligent, a survivor, a man who enjoys the luxuries of Western goods that his position makes available to him. He is happily married (to Anne Archer), and the only shadow in his life is a troubled daughter. He has an office, a secretary, a car, a driver, a large apartment filled with works of art, and a pocketful of American dollars, which he uses in the regular poker games held by the party boss. Of course he is careful to lose.
Then everything falls to pieces in his life. He appears at party headquarters one morning to discover that his office has been vacated and his security clearance revoked. He is a non-person, and nobody will tell him why. Indeed, he has become an outcast, a pariah; his former friends avoid him for fear of somehow becoming contaminated by his unknown errors.
Life now becomes a Kafkaesque nightmare for Burski. He is followed. His telephone is tapped. His friends are questioned. His funds are frozen. No job of any description is open to him. Anyone who tries to help him is placed in immediate danger. And his society now appears differently to him, now that he is no longer free to move through it with prestige, wealth and power.